The Madrid sky is special when seen from the foot of the Palacio Real, the Royal Palace. Don't forget your camera!

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Palacio Real

Dusk in Madrid

This mound is an excellent spot to see without being seen. And it has been for centuries, even before Madrid was Madrid. The Emir Mohammed I built an alcazaba, or castle, here to defend Toledo from the advance of the Christians. It was then converted into an alcázar, or palace, until it was destroyed by a fire. It was then, in the eighteenth century, that King Felipe V decided to build the current grandiose Palacio Real. The inspiration comes from the sketches used by Bernini for the construction of the Louvre Museum in Paris. It is currently the residence of the Kings of Spain although they do not officially live here but it is used for State receptions. You can stroll through the Sabatini gardens and the Campo del Moro Gardens (entry via the Paseo Virgen del Puerto) and admire the different façades. Inside there are 3000 rooms, although not all can be visited. The most interesting are the Escalera Central (Main Staircase), the Salón del Trono (Throne Room) with its ceiling painted by Tiépolo, the Salita Gasparini (Gasparini Room) el Salón de Alarbaderos (Alarbaderos Room), the Real Farmacia (Royal Pharmacy) and the Real Armería (the Royal Armoury) which includes a gallery of canvases by Velázquez, Goya and Sorolla. Outside, every Wednesday at 11 am (except between July and September and days facing adverse weather conditions or special events) you can watch the colourful changing of the Royal Guard complete with horses and period uniforms. At dusk, you'll never tire of Madrid's red and violet skies.

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